There is something strangely satisfying about going to some fun little basement spot in Williamsburgh to celebrate the 64th birthday of a universally beloved rock star. Last night I got to see four great bands that showed me the power of the New York underground - a scene that I had missed out on in my excitement at being in the heart of the global metal scene. And so this DIY spot captured my heart last night as I spent time talking with all sorts of psyched out underground dudes and dudettes who were simply glad to be alive.
First up was The Black Black - one of those bands who simply get the fundamental power of stripped back and reliable rock and roll. With a surprisingly talented drummer and some rather distinct guitar work these guys carried on the grand tradition of basement rock. There music was potent with melodic lines leaping out and the twin vocalist approach being exploited in the grandest possible way. There is something strangely reassuring about what The Black Black do - perhaps in the way that it speaks to the fundamental power of rock and roll and reminds us that the music we love will never die. The Black Black get the glory of the genre and watching them tear it up was a wonderful start to the evening.
The Unconditional Love are one of those two pieces who you can never seem to find any information about on the internet but that you can't help but love. Sure the PA was fucking up on them and the mixing wasn't quite where it could have been - but in a weird way that didn't matter. Their modern grunge sound captured the perpetual strife of the millennial generation. There is a very real sadness to what they do that is strangely cleansing and hard to ignore. It's impossible to put into words what a band like The Unconditional Love do but I know I like it. Midway through their set the band members swapped instruments and then suddenly swapped back - I don't know what that has to say about the human condition and maybe I'm just hung over - but in a weird way I found that wonderfully poetic.
Finally the hour had come for the band I had come out to see - the triumphant Bangladeafy. This bass and drum two piece is redefining what it means to be a technical metal band and they are ridiculously inspiring to watch. The bands frontman Jon has a unique technical attack that emphasizes tapping and it gives his bass playing a wholly unique timbre. The playing scatters itself all over the place with weird time signatures defining the music and leaving listeners trying to scrape together the beautiful fragments of the music. Bangladeafy are the real deal and soon will become impossible to ignore. Their new material sounded even better than the two albums worth of classics they've already pounded out - simply put - this may be the most exciting band on the New York underground scene right now.
The evening closed out with Vulture Shit who have a surprising cult popularity that led to a great vibe in the wonderfully intimate Tiger Lounge. Forty-odd people crammed into a tiny ass room singing along to some deranged three piece punk band makes for some great rock and roll memories. Vulture Shit put together an admirable set with a powerful encore that left every screaming along. These guys are raw and wonderfully fun - their unique line up (bass, drum and vocals) giving them a distinct approach - nevertheless they weren't afraid to show the influence of older punk bands - leading to a set that had a nice mix of old and new - a perfect finale to an evening of madness.
Now I'm preparing myself to go see a highly exclusive classical music event and realizing that in some ways it's all the same - New York City punk and Beethoven is all part of the same Western canon and with the way things are going you best not forget it. These bands all speak to the fundamental nature of the nation - and while yeah - Sting wasn't there, he might as well have been. A rad soiree all around - this is not the kind of thing you can ignore, underground music might just be ready to boil over.
Find the bands on Facebook!
The Black Black: https://www.facebook.com/theblackblack.nyc
Vulture Shit: https://www.facebook.com/vultureshit?fref=ts